Monday, May 23, 2016

Whenever someone tells me...

...that, Hey, I think this Trump guy can win -- I mean, Hillary's negatives are so high! -- I always say, ask any Hispanic or African American what they think of the Donald. And, if it's in person, I get a blank stare in response; if it's over the phone I get crickets. And I always laugh to myself: the person I'm talking to probably doesn't know or even come into contact with any blacks or Hispanics.

Now, I don't want to sound too smug or "worldly" (after all, I am admittedly a Boring Old White Guy), because I've spent the vast majority of my life surrounded by other white people, but just try my little experiment some time.

In my wife's non-profit we have at least one young man who grew up in both the United States and Mexico (I'm sure Spanish is his first language) and several African Americans. I also talked to some of the protesters at the Trump rally at UIC, above, a few weeks ago. Heck, I ask the question every chance I get.

And the response is usually a non-verbal look that suggests hatred. I know you're never supposed to make comparisons with Nazi Germany, but it's the kind of look I imagine you'd get if you asked a Jew what they thought of Hitler.

I'm reminded of all this by a piece in the New York Times this morning, "Mexico Prepares to Counter ‘the Trump Emergency’" (my emphasis):

[Mexican] President Enrique Peña Nieto likened the candidate’s language to that of Hitler and Mussolini in an interview with Mexico’s Excelsior newspaper. And he recently shuffled his diplomatic corps in the United States, replacing Mexico’s ambassador to Washington and installing new consuls general around the country, in part to strengthen his administration’s response to the rise of Mr. Trump and what it reflects about American sentiment toward Mexico.

The two countries are now enjoying one of the more harmonious periods in a turbulent history. But many in Mexico fear that the friendship would rupture should Mr. Trump win the election and follow through on his threats to undo the North American Free Trade Agreement, force Mexico to pay for the construction of a wall between the countries by interrupting remittances and deport the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States, about half of whom are Mexican.

Mexican critics of Mr. Trump say he has already damaged the image of their country and of the Mexican people with his espousal of views that many regard as xenophobic. At a rally to kick off his campaign in June, the Republican candidate suggested that many Mexican immigrants were drug traffickers and rapists.

Instead, most of the Mexican agitation against Mr. Trump has come from the general public. At the beginning of his campaign, many Mexicans viewed Mr. Trump with a mixture of alarm and amusement. But the amusement has mostly fallen away.

“Why should we worry?” Mr. Krauze asked, rhetorically. “I couldn’t think of a reason not to worry, no?”

In the fall, Mr. Krauze and Carmelo Mesa-Lago, an emeritus professor of economics and Latin American studies at the University of Pittsburgh, drafted a letter denouncing Mr. Trump’s campaign. Sixty-seven prominent Latinos — academics, scientists, writers and filmmakers in the United States, Spain and Latin America — signed it.

“His hate speech appeals to lower passions like xenophobia, machismo, political intolerance and religious dogmatism,” the letter said.

In recent months, Mr. Castañeda has been pushing a pro-Mexico social media campaign with the hashtag #ImProudToBeMexican. Aiming at an American, English-speaking audience, he has uploaded videos to Facebook and a campaign website extolling the diversity of the Mexican diaspora and its contributions to the United States.

Explaining the American focus of this lobby, he said: “I don’t want to convince Mexicans how nasty Trump is, because everyone knows that. That’s a done deal.”

I've heard some people say that blacks and Hispanics won't turn out this year in the numbers we've come to expect, partly because President Obama won't be on the ballot. But, I'm telling you, from the people I've talked to (and, admittedly, it's not exactly a scientific sampling), they'll turn out. They'll turn out in huge numbers. Just watch.

1 comment:

James said...

It doesn't seem wise to count on that anger to hold. Trump depends on being unpredictable and could very well break out of the convention pretending to be a peacemaker. More importantly Clinton offers little to move toward. She can blame the polls on Bernie for now but at some point she should realize that not only is she a dangerously unskilled campaign politician but also that her platform seems like it was forged in a focus group. People may want some form of consensus but they want a sincere person first and foremost not a tour guide from the hall of lame and often harmful compromises.